Russia’s Central Bank Joins the CBDC Bandwagon; Issues Consultative Paper on Digital Ruble Consideration

Russia’s Central Bank is the latest monetary authority to issue a CBDC consultative paper amidst the ongoing craze; the bank confirmed its interest in issuing a digital ruble, noting that it can operate alongside cash or non-cash forms of money that already exist in the country. This development comes barely a week since the BIS and 7 major central banks published a report highlighting the key principles that should guide CBDCs at least for now.

According to the consultative paper released on Oct 3, a digital ruble will require Russia’s central bank to develop advanced payment ecosystems. Consequently, the bank intends this digital asset to carry along the properties of money, given its prospective fundamentals as part of the state-backed legal tender in circulation. The paper further notes that the digital ruble will be instrumental in making payments seamless based on its underlying architecture.

In terms of a macroeconomic and political outlook, the bank also plans to curb capital outflow with its prospectus digital ruble,

“The national digital currency will also limit the risk of reallocation of funds into foreign digital currencies, contributing to macroeconomic and financial stability.”

Notably, the digital ruble will be accessible to all Russian economy agents, including government agencies, businesses, financial market stakeholders, and private citizens. These digital assets will be storable on mobile devices and e-wallets, with the holders having an option to use their CBDC tokens both online and offline. The digital ruble’s main functions, as per the paper, will include a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and a store of value.

Given the ongoing CBDC momentum, Russia’s debut at the party further suggests that monetary authorities are taking more interest in the evolving digital currency space. China is currently the most progressive jurisdiction; the digital yuan pilot has been ongoing for some months with scaling recently done to prominent cities. The EU also filed for a ‘digital euro’ trademark as it gears up to join the CBDC bandwagon in preparation for the paradigm shift to digital ecosystems.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

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